494 HISTORY OF PERSIA CHAP, about 50 per cent above the legal tax was levied, they were nevertheless light. In some cases villages had grown enormously, and as the tax remained stationary it was purely nominal. The tax on tradesmen ajid artisans was levied on the guilds, each guild being responsible for a certain sum. The poll-tax was calculated at about eight shillings per family ; but here again the assessment was on the villages and not on the individual. Taxes on sheep, etc., were levied at the rate of about sixpence per sheep ; but the assessment was very imperfect. The nomad tribesmen, who are the largest owners of sheep, paid taxes through their chiefs. The taxation of mines included that on the famous turquoise mines of Nishapur. It must not be supposed that only legitimate taxes were levied in Persia. On the contrary, the ingenuity of the tax collector was remarkable and instances of fantastic imposts have from time to time been brought to my notice. For example, a certain village was called upon a century ago to provide a cradle for the son of a governor ; and a sum of money is still levied annually on this account. Charges to maintain sowars to fight the Turkoman, to provide cartridges, to provide horses for the royal stable, etc., etc., are still exacted in many parts of the country. A Persian Village. — By way of conclusion to this chapter I will give some account of a typical Persian village, followed by the description of a peasant.1 In both cases I have made a comparison with the Panjab, which contains the finest and best-fed peasantry in India. One great difference between a Persian village and one in- the PanjaS is that in the former the villager can do any kind of work. Consequently, he is not obliged to keep parasites to skin his cattle and perform other tasks which religion or custom forbids him to do ; in other words there is no caste. A Persian village is frequently enclosed inside a high mud wall, in which case the houses are small and squalid. Usually, however, they occupy a good deal of room ; and 1 These studies are based on my Report on the Agriculture of Khorasan, published by jjie ppyeniment of India in 1910.